Not All Sunshine.

Written by: The Bridge on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Hello, blog readers!

Apparently, people at home or elsewhere are getting the impression, from our previous blogs, that we are having a holiday here! Over the phone, I’ve talked with people from back home and some told me that while reading about our adventures here in Palmgrove, Africa, they got the impression that we were having a good time here, that things were going well, and that we have nothing to complain about! Though this is not the case, I wasn’t surprised to hear that. You see, when we sit down to write blogs for the public, we are scared of making too negative an impression on our readers, so apparently we go to the other extreme. Things are in no way easy here. With trying to live a Christian life by being a daily example, dealing with unreasonable and demanding people every hour of every day, and dealing with the heat all the time, the overall situation here in Palmgrove is trying and difficult. Day to day life is in general very frustrating, with trying to get people to work, with the little working equipment that we have, and having no income is a constant struggle. Sometimes it seems the Palmgrove people just sit and wait for money from overseas, and that they aren’t interested in earning any themselves. This is very unfair of them because at home our young people do plays and bike-a-thons and what-not to raise money for the ‘desperate’ people of Africa. We ask our outside friends to donate to this cause. People give their hard-earned money to Palmgrove, and do they appreciate it? Sometimes it seems they think they deserve to be given money and not work at all. It’s very hard to have a positive attitude with that going on. One thing that is a bit uplifting is that some of the younger people, puem mostly, seem to be open and willing to be taught and are trustworthy. Eddie Vetter from Cascade says back in 2000 when he was here, the puem were a nasty bunch, not Christians at all. So these here now are an encouragement.

The barns and factories are all run down and not in working order. They need maintenance, fixing, improving, money, more money, and people with ambition to work. It seems that every factory, soap, yamelina, tile, etc. that should have worked in the past, didn’t, and now we are working on getting the water plant in order. If the boys will show enough ambition and interest, that might be a source of income in the near future. A lot of the fault lies on the corrupt infrastructures most African countries have to deal with.

We will try to be more blunt with our blogs from now on. But, now you know why they seem to be all sunshine and roses, but in reality, life here is more difficult than most people at home can or will ever grasp.

Ed Vetter, Crystal Springs, keeps encouraging us by saying that “Our vision must be bigger than just Palmgrove.” Daily we come into contact with many, many strangers and it is up to us to be a light in this dark world. Our Lord expects us to make a difference in people’s lives, if we call ourselves his followers.


Showing 18 comments

Anonymous said:
On: 9th Apr, 2008 at 20:02

That is very much understood. Looking at it from my end, a lot of the comments being made are meant as an encouragement. But thanks for the post. Thank you very much!

anonymous coward said:
On: 9th Apr, 2008 at 20:44

Very enlightening post, Leanne.

just a thought: writing really positive posts in a trying environment probably helps your thoughts stay positive as well.

sjb said:
On: 9th Apr, 2008 at 21:39

LEANNE,just think how soo much easier killing chicks will be from now on when u come home..and picking peas in Pop.Point…hoeing our garden with misquitoes….You bet life has its ups and downs everywhere,but there’s a reason for your being there to see all this..Don’t give up,I really enjoy your blogs,and they make me smile..hard to picture u there…all the best.joanne and we’ll keep on cooking our gooood knedel and borscht..ha

Ian/Crystal said:
On: 9th Apr, 2008 at 22:15

Brian and Leanne

I could not agree with you more! We in the western world can’t begin to understand what life is like in a third world country. Reading books and blogs about these countries and cultures doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

No, I’m sure your experience is not all roses! However, Eddy Vetter was right. We can’t look at all the failures in Palmgrove and use that as an excuse to do nothing. The good Lord knows we all have multitudes of failings in our lives and He doesn’t give up on us!

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Rom 3:23

That said, we hope and pray that you do have some joy in your journey! As an encouragement, I will post the lyrics to a song that I find uplifting and encouraging. May the Lord be with you and strengthen you!

Joy in the Journey (Michael Card)

There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
and freedom for those who obey.
And all those who seek it shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind.

To all who have been born of the spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity stranded in time
and of struggling with sin.

Forget not the hope that’s bid for you
and never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost.
There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
and freedom for those who obey
and freedom for those who obey.

I really like the last line “for those who obey”. So, take comfort in the thought that you are being obedient to Jesus last commission to his disciples.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Mat 28:20 -21

cm/baker said:
On: 10th Apr, 2008 at 07:52

Hi Leanne,

Your right by saying we can’t really grasp the primitive, difficult and challenging situation that your in. It’s impossible. I’ve heard time and time again that no amount of instruction can prepare you for Africa. Most things simply need personal experience.

Our thoughts and prayers are in Palmgrove.

Anonymous said:
On: 10th Apr, 2008 at 07:54

Dear Leanne

I have been wondering when a post like this would come alone.
Its about time people were introduced “to the reatilies of life in Palmgrove”.
Dont worry so much about “making too negative an impression” people want to hear the truth !
When you read stories about missionaries and their struggles in Africa or other counties, they are honest about the hardships and even discouragement they deal with from day to day.

Anonymous said:
On: 10th Apr, 2008 at 12:25

For those of us who have had colony members in Palm Grove who have shared the challenges and hardships with us, we do understand that it is not easy. But I, for one, appreciate the positives that you write about, because most of the time all we hear are the negatives and it’s very discouraging. Please continue to write about the positives as well as the negatives. I enjoy your blogs so very much and think of you a lot!


bruce and leah said:
On: 10th Apr, 2008 at 12:54

hi. keep up the good job “over there”
anyway i would like to repeat what i was told and have found to be true for working and liveing in a hard enviroment.
If you look for the bad in people and life you will find it.but if you look for the good you will find that is all in how you look.keep your glass half full.not half empty.bruce

MH CS said:
On: 10th Apr, 2008 at 21:05

Hey Lee, I kinda think this verse applies to the situation.
“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matt. 10:42
You’ve got our total support. I like to think that when we’re doing bikathons, etc. that we are not only supporting Palm Grove, but also the surrounding area. Hugs. (lots 🙂 )

On: 11th Apr, 2008 at 07:24


cm/baker said:
On: 11th Apr, 2008 at 08:11

Hi Brian, Leanne and others,

Mission seems so filled with paradox. One actively and consciously seeks to help and improve the life situation of the “poor people.” However, I’ve been fascinated in the way that so much comes back our way. As a byproduct of helping others the joy and fulfillment we serendipitously encounter comes as a surprise.

When we come back from a visit to the Amish and go in our own rooms we realize how complicated we make our lives. How much “stuff” we have that we simply don’t need. We seem to have this remarkable ability to get used to so much, to “gven” so much.

Could you write a bit on how your outlook on life has changed in a personal way?

How have you been affected or changed by your interactions in Africa?

How has your joy in living changed by having so much less?

KM said:
On: 13th Apr, 2008 at 12:06

Well, Leanne, without a doubt, some people will surely take this post as an “I told you so”, but since we’ve started this project can we “take our hands off the plough??” When reading the blogs, I believe that in writing them you’ll be encouraging yourselves as you’ll know better what it takes to be in our shoes. Must be hard to be sunshine to the people around you everyday considering how difficult things are there.
thinking of you.

JH/Skyview said:
On: 13th Apr, 2008 at 14:15

A lot of us here find these blogs fascinating. Though I am sure it will be easier to write as things are rather than trying to come up with ‘just positive’ stuff.
It’s often when things get difficult and we’re totally overwhelmed with the problems that God shows us glimpses of hope through His spirit.

praying for you said:
On: 13th Apr, 2008 at 17:34

Dear Leanne, I always knew that it was not all roses. Just thinking of last years blueberry picking reminded me how though and draining the heat must be on you all! Just keep on giving us a honest and realistic outlook at all you are struggling and enduring! We all have our strengths and weaknesses and need each other to overcome and endure the ups and downs of life! That what real community is all about, after all. I often feel that we are loosing ourselves in all the materialism and that really saddens and discourages me at times!
Today at church we prayed that God will bless you with the grace, strength and wisdom to serve Him in Palmgrove!!

lisa/neuhof said:
On: 16th Apr, 2008 at 11:52

I think you really have to see it to understand it. Ruthie and and I were shocked at some things we saw in Palmgrove…they were actually worst then in Liberia. The heat completely drained you, it was insufferable. Sleeping was no was simply too hot! I think I could get used to the food eventually if I had to! But you can’t miss how run-down, the lack of commitment and reponsibilty you notice in too many there…that’s the unpleasant side. I couldn’t help but wonder what we’re doing here?? But you have to reach beyond that, succumb the thoughts and realize you dealing with the souls and hearts of people, children…and they depend on what our people send there. You simply can’t judge a situation in a third world country by western standards…and when you see it, and how people live there…your whole prespective changes.

Anonymous said:
On: 17th Apr, 2008 at 07:56

What you said, Lisa, is what most of us struggle to understand and accept, I think. But God wants us there and that overrides any negative feelings we might have.


Linda said:
On: 17th Apr, 2008 at 13:16

Most of us know that life in Palm Grove is no ‘walk in the park’. And that is precisely why I enjoyed reading your up-beat blogs – You’re making the most of the difficulties you come across. A constant reminder for us to not take our life of relative ease here for granted.
May God give all of you in Palm Grove strength and courage.

leanne said:
On: 26th Apr, 2008 at 08:33

wow! thank you all for the comments, they are great and i feel uplifted just reading them!! Brian and I are alone now, suddenly and unexpectedly, and just a week after Ed and Judy left too! Ed and Anna had to leave, as you all probably know. So know we struggle to adjust once AGAIN! Oh well, God knows how to take care of us…. 🙂 we’ll have to write some more blogs next week!